gabriel unloaded

The soup can incident.

A late birthday present for greymichaela featuring an AU we discussed months ago- Gabriel is too short to reach the grocery shelf and employee Sam has to help him.

\Gabriel is not short. Even though his ridiculously tall family teases him about being the shortest, and yes, he uses a stepladder (the horror) to reach the top of his bookshelf, he’s really just average. Five eight is a perfectly respectable height, thank you very much.

Still, five eight and some rather short arms are not nearly enough to reach the top shelf at the local grocery, especially when the items on the shelf are near the back. He just wants tomato soup. He just wants the brand of tomato soup that’s normally a shelf below the top but has been moved up a shelf for some sort of holiday themed soup promotion that Gabriel doesn’t care about. 

He’s reached and stretched and reached, with no results, and, with a quick glance to make sure the coast is clear, attempted to stand on the very edge of the lowest shelf. Nil. He’s simply not going to be able to reach this way. Gabriel stands there in front of the shelf, pacing and looking up at the offending soup cans, and then slowly turns his attention to the cart. The ‘at least two feet of height boost’ cart.

Carts have wheels. Gabriel did not take into account that carts have wheels and is now holding the top shelf with both hands, trying desperately to keep the cart and his feet from rolling away. He still can’t reach the soup. God hates him, clearly. It’s late at night and there’s no one around, thank god, because he’s sure he looks ridiculous. He can get down. He can get down. All he has to do is…. haul the cart closer… 

“Sir?” Gabriel freezes like a deer in the headlights. “Is everything…?” Gabriel slowly turns his head, hoping to every god out there that it’s not-

It is. It’s the hot, friendly, 'my smile is a ray of sunshine’ employee who normally checks his groceries. Sam W., the epitome of gorgeous grocery workers, is standing at the start of the aisle, too confused to even finish his sentence. He clears his throat and starts again. “Do you need any, uh, help?”

Gabriel stares for a second, the cart wheel squeaking, the cheery grocery store music playing in the distance. “Nope!” Dooooooing great,“ Gabriel insists. "Just, ah…” The cart slides a little further, and Gabriel can feel his shirt riding up.

Sam rushes over. “Here let me get this-” he grabs the handle of the cart and pushes it back towards the shelf, letting Gabriel stand back up. He jerks his shirt back down and clambers out of the basket of the cart. But no, it can never be that simple. Gabriel Novak clearly hasn’t been humiliated enough in front of the love of his life today. The shoelace on the second foot catches on the wire edge of the cart and he falls backwards.

Landing on his ass would have been preferable. Sam has circled back around the cart, and leaps forward to catch him as he falls. Gabriel yelps as his head thumps against Sam’s (way too muscular to be real) pecs, and the next thing he knows, Sam’s arms are wrapped around his chest. “You alright?” Sam’s (perfect) voice is way too close to his ear.

“Um.” Gabriel chokes out. “Yeah?”

Sam sets him back on his feet. “Gabriel, right?”

“Yeah.” His mind is still returning from the wonderful world where Sam W.’s arms are around him, back into the god-awful one where Sam W. had caught him climbing in the grocery cart to reach tomato soup…

Gabriel looks away from Sam and up to the shelf, where the soup still sits, delicious and unreachable. “Fuck.” His shoulders slump.

Sam lets out a laugh, and dear god, he’s even more beautiful like this. “Do you want me to-”

“No no, Gabriel spits out without thinking. "It’s fine. I’m not that short.”

Sam visibly attempts to contain his amusement. “Okay. You… you have a nice night.” And as he walks off, he pulls two cans off the shelf and sets them on the shelf below. He tries to be subtle by rearranging some other merchandise. Bless him.

Gabriel purposefully gets in the other open check out line, but clearly the universe is against him, because the girl heads out for the night and Sam W. takes over the line. 

“Did you find everything alright?” Sam asks cheekily.

“Okay, that’s just mean,” Gabriel responds as he unloads his cart onto the conveyor belt.

“Sorry.” Sam begins checking and bagging. “But really, nothing else you need me to get down for you?” Gabriel gives him this look of absolute disgust and Sam laughs again. “I’m sorry. I’m done now. Promise.”

“How’d you know my name, anyway?” Gabriel finally asks.

Sam shrugs. “You must have mentioned it once when you were here before.”

“And you remembered?” Gabriel asks, slightly impressed.

Sam pauses bagging. “It’s just- you’re in here every Tuesday evening, like clockwork, and you always get in my line.”

“You notice that?” He’d sincerely hoped that Sam wouldn't notice that. He really didn’t want to look like any further of a weirdo. But no, add 'ridiculously observant’ and 'good memory’ to the list of Sam’s good traits.

“How would I not? You’re gor-” Sam blurts, then stops himself mid sentence and makes an attempt at professional. “I mean.” He swallows. “Every Tuesday.”

Oh god. Oh god. Sam isn’t just a friendly, chatty checker who happens to remember his name, he’s been… he's interested.At the very least he thinks Gabriel’s good looking enough to remember.How this is actually happening Gabriel will never understand, but he’s taking full advantage of it. “Sam.” He drops his voice to a low purr.“Are you saying you’ve been checking me out in both senses of the phrase?”

“Your total is thirty-one twenty-eight,” Sam says weakly, his face red. Gabriel swipes his card, earlier embarrassing incident completely wiped from his mind at the prospect of Sam, waiting every night for him to come in and get groceries, just so he can chat and apparently admire the view. This is unreal.

Sam presses the receipt into Gabriel’s hand. “You- ah, you have a nice night.” Then, apparently recovering a little, adds, “Try not to fall out of any more carts.”

“Only if you’re there to catch me, Samson,” Gabriel winks as he collects his grocery bags and heads out of the store, leaving a blushing checker behind him.

It’s not until he gets home that he looks at the receipt. Written across the top in tight, neat handwriting is “You’re the highlight of my night. ~Sam.” Just beneath is a phone number. Best grocery run ever.

(Gabriel eventually decides to text a picture of his bowl of soup and a simple “Didn’t die making soup. Promise I’m not that much of a klutz. -Gabriel.” Sam responds with, “If I come over, will you make me soup, too?” Gabriel gets laid that weekend and Castiel has to tell the 'soup can incident’ story at their wedding few years later.)